Friday, September 23, 2011

Little effort - gigantic gift

I'm growing to like a number of people in my nursing classes even though we've only been in session for four weeks.  One or two I'm already growing to love.

My lab partner is an Alaska Native woman who served in Iraq for 14 months.  She was a medic.  Her descriptions of the chaos, lack of equipment, horrific wounds, loss of life, gold in "The Palace" and squalor nearly everywhere else in Baghdad are mind-numbing, and sometimes I'll ask her a question she can't really answer.  Usually a question relating to how she copes with those memories..  She's in nursing school so that she can work with veterans stateside, and remains an Army Reservist.

We exchanged phone numbers after the first week of class.

Yesterday afternoon I got a call from her.  She had been riding her motorcycle on the closest thing that Alaska has to a freeway and ran out of gas on an overpass.  She said that she had already called all the cab companies and, being new in town, didn't know who else to call.  Nobody had stopped to help her.  The lovely woman who owns the B&B I live in during the week advised me that she had a full gas can in the basement, and that I should take it with me to rescue my friend.

I found her easily; a small woman dressed in black leathers sitting on a motorcycle with hazards flashing on a freeway overpass.  I pulled over, turned on my hazards, and handed her the gas can.  Her hand was shaking as she filled the motorcycle's gas tank with a couple of gallons of gas.  I returned the can to my Jeep and went back over to her.  She was still shaking.  She threw her arms around me and thanked me over and over again, tears streaming down her face.  She said, "I didn't know who else to call.  Thank you so, so much for coming to rescue me."

I replied, "You have gone much further than this for me.  To the extent that I am able, I will always have your back."

I can't remember ever receiving a greater gift than the chance to help in a small way this woman, my friend the veteran.  God bless her, and all who serve.


  1. That really touched me!! I can't imagine all she has seen over there. That's something I could never do. So glad you could help her out! She sounds like a person you should hang onto, you know? Keep in touch with and don't lose track of. She's lucky you have her back. And we were lucky she had our backs. :)

  2. Lovely story. And how wonderful to have someone's back in real life.

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